meat on wheels (crankycoyote) wrote in artists_beware,
meat on wheels
crankycoyote
artists_beware

Artist Beware: Mithacal Creatures

Who:

Mithacal Creatures - Alaska business license 1052001
Twitter: @Mithacal
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mithacalcreatures/
Website: https://www.mithacal.com/
FurBuy username: MithacalCreatures
FurAffinity:http://www.furaffinity.net/user/Mitha/

Where:

Furbid Auction - https://www.furbuy.com/auctions/1092553.html

What:

Fursuit head commission, won at auction. The auction was won for $575, and the agreed-upon price after enhancements, modifications, and shipping was $905. Custom features were to include custom eye cuts for better vision, whiskers, and a silicone nose.

When:

The auction was won on February 14, 2017, and lists a completion time of 5 weeks after full payment is received. Full payment was made on February 17, 2017, after some initial communication difficulties. Delivery of the head was delayed repeatedly. On July 12, after a disagreement about what features were included in the increased price, Mitha offered a full refund, then asked for a legal agreement to be signed as a pre-requisite for the refund. On July 13, Mitha refused to honor that offer, and said that only a 50% refund would be available. On July 17, after I had requested several days to decide what to do (which was also over a weekend), Mitha stated that she would be giving me a 50% refund in 14 days whether I wanted it or not. At that point, I filed a credit card dispute, which was resolved in my favor in September.

Explanation & Evidence:

The commission got off to a rough start when Mitha didn’t get my emails, but that’s on me. Eventually we made contact via Twitter, which is where we would do all of our subsequent communication. I sent Mitha a long explanation, including a web page with references and desired features.

Screenshot 1

Mitha agreed to this, saying that she could “do everything I wanted” on my reference page.

Screenshot 2

The features added $280 to the price of the head, which made the total with shipping $905.

Screenshot 3

Payment was made immediately via credit card on her website, http://www.mithacal.com.

Screenshot 4

Some additional discussion about fur kinds and colors followed, since I wanted to try making a body suit for the head and wanted to coordinate on the fur we were using. At the end of the discussion, I mentioned her move, something that she had been talking about on Twitter. No mention was made of it impacting the deadline.

Screenshot 5

One month later, I check in. No progress, and we talk about fur choices, but don’t exit the conversation with an unambiguous decision.

Screenshot 6

Another month goes by with no communication. It’s now April 23rd, with no WIPs. I check in again. Apparently Mitha thought that she was still waiting on fur choices, and after getting the go-ahead to use whatever she wanted, says that she’ll finish up the mask and will have updates in a week.

Screenshot 7

At the time, she also asks me what color eyes I want. LED eyes weren’t part of my request list, but I had thought they were just something standard she did. Her last message says she needs to wait for them, but had said just before that she’d report progress in a week.

Screenshot 7_1

Another month goes by, and it’s now May 30th. I have not yet heard anything from Mitha without me prompting her. She says she’s still waiting on the eyes from DVC.

Screenshot 8

Amazingly, the eyes come in the same day! Or so she says. She also now says it will be another few weeks before there’s any progress to see.

Screenshot 9
Screenshot 10

June 13th, and I finally get a communication from her asking me to choose eye backgrounds, and to say that the head is still a couple of weeks away from completion.

Screenshot 11

June 21st , and I message her again for a status update, and to let her know that I was going to be out of town from July 1 – 10. She indicates that she’ll have the head shipped so that it arrives around July 10th.

Screenshot 12
Screenshot 13

July 11th, and I haven’t heard anything from her, so I ping her again. Apparently there’s been a delay due to her wedding and honeymoon, which she didn’t mention anything about. I congratulate her, and ask for some WIPs, especially of the tear duct modifications. This is where things start to go very wrong.

Screenshot 14

Mitha claims she never agreed to the modifications. I ask where she said that, because the last message I got from her about it, before I paid, was that it wouldn’t be a problem. She says she sent something saying she wasn’t capable of that kind of modification,
and offers a refund if that’s a problem. I ask again to just point me where she said that, and after 24 hours
of no response, I’m pretty fed up with the whole deal and agree to the refund.

Screenshot 15

Mitha goes off, but agrees to the full refund. Fine, I just want to be done with this; I’ve seen scant evidence that my commission was even being worked on (nothing other than the eye backgrounds), and we’re now 5 months into what was promised in 5 weeks.

Screenshot 16

And now things get really weird. Mitha wants me to sign some kind of contract – I was guessing a non-disparagement agreement – as part of the refund. But, instead of sending me something to sign and review, she sends me a contract that she signed, between herself and her dog breeder, over some dispute that they had. Real names redacted below, but they weren't in what she sent me:

Screenshot 17

One, sending me this unredacted was probably a violation of her agreement with her breeder. Two, it’s really odd to send somebody a legal agreement that isn’t actually ready to be signed, and is in fact between her and another party, with all of those details.

Because I've had some experience with contracts and NDAs, I’m going to get a lawyer to look at any contract I’m being asked to sign. I’m not trying to be aggressive here, and in most business environments when you say you need a lawyer to look at a legal document, that’s a sign of being
sane and prudent, not that you're making a legal threat.

Screenshot 18

The whole thing has taken a turn for the strange, and I’m asking her for options. I feel she’s had a really poor record of communicating with me, so I’m trying to be proactive about communication and expectations.

Asking for a mailing address for legal communications is pretty standard business practice, and signing a non-disparagement clause is a lot different than a regular commercial transaction. As a registered business in the state of Alaska, she has to have a publicly-available mailing address, and it can be found very easily online at the Alaska Chamber of Commerce website (https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/cbp/main), so I'm not sure why it would be a problem.

Screenshot 19

And then Mitha changes her mind, says she won’t be giving me a full refund, that only a 50% refund is on the table, and accuses me of threatening legal action, apparently because I uttered the word ‘lawyer’, after she asked me to sign a legally-binding document.

Screenshot 20

I want to take some time to think about this, because none of my options here are good: I can lose $450, or I can maybe get a head that doesn’t have the features that I wanted, from a maker that I no longer trust. Since this is already months late, I didn’t think a few extra days would be an issue, especially over a weekend. July 14 was a Friday, July 17 is a Monday. Mitha feels differently, and by Monday evening is saying that she will give me a 50% refund whether I like it or not.

Screenshot 21

I’m still not clear on what’s going on – do I still have to sign a document of some kind, even for the 50% refund? I’m not sure, and I don’t want to make a decision until we can hash this out. Mitha doesn’t want to wait though, and just after midnight on Monday she decides she’s going to keep half the money and not send me anything, no matter what I want. After 5 months of me waiting for her, she’s definitely not going to wait for me.

Screenshot 22

To me, and to the lawyer that I had review all of this, this is a breach of contract on her part. What she’s saying here, as evidenced by all the previous tweets, is mostly false. She offered the refund first, I just took her up on it. She asked me to sign a legal document, I just wanted to do it safely by having a lawyer look at the contract. At this point, I’m pretty upset.

Screenshot 23

Screenshot 24

After her message on July 18th, and blocking me on Twitter, I filed a dispute with the credit card company to get my money back. I’d received nothing, no WIPs beyond the eye backdrop photos, no proof of work done, and no product, and was only going to get half of a refund after waiting 5 months for something that Mitha agreed to do but later decided she couldn't, or wouldn't. Finally, on July 30th, Mitha unblocked me long enough to tell me that she was going to sue me in small claims court.

To date, Mitha hasn’t served me with anything for a lawsuit, and the credit card company finalized the chargeback in September, so I have 100% of my money back. As things go, this could have been worse, but I think Mitha is somebody to avoid doing business with.

Tags: artist-mitha/mithacalcreatures/mithacal, beware
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